Despite the global economic situation, 2011 was a good year for European patents with a record number of applications being received by the European Patent Office (243,000, up 3% on 2010). Most (62%) of these applications came from outside Europe, with the US and Japan topping the table for the largest number of applications filed (having 24% and 19% of the total respectively). China came in fourth, increasing its share from 5% to 7% compared to 2010.
Within Europe, the Germans proved to be the most prolific at filing European patents, filing 14% of the total number. They were followed by France (5%), with Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands each filing 3% of the applications.
In addition to the number of applications filed, the number of patents granted also increased by 7% compared with 2010, to a total of 62,115.
The European Patent Office President, Benoit Battistelli, said "I am pleased to see that R&D investment held up well last year, despite the financial crisis. Continued patent filings growth and the high percentage of non-European applicants are clear evidence of great confidence in Europe as a place for business."
27 January 2012